A Little Bit of Peace: Interview on the International Peace Conference in Rome in October 2023

Lesezeit5 min

With the call for an international peace conference in Rome in October 2023, an anti-​imperialist alliance wants to help prevent a third world war.

The clash between Russia and Ukraine threatens to trigger a third world war due to the increasing involvement of NATO. Russia’s red lines by attacking its heartland have de facto already been crossed several times. As one hears, more and more voices are being raised in Russia to react accordingly to the provocations on the part of NATO. It is not only the arms deliveries that are turning numerous EU countries into warring parties. Even the Austrian Federal President is ranting about the deployment of Austrian soldiers in the war zone, although perpetual neutrality is still an integral part of the country’s constitution.

The Antiimperialist Coordination (AIK) is an independent political organisation that defines itself as revolutionary. Its aim is to overcome imperialist capitalism and help build a self-​determined democracy from below, a system of social justice for all. It is therefore fairly safe to assume that it is an organisation from the political left spectrum. A visit to the website confirms this impression. It is somehow reassuring that there are still organisations that are not only left-​wing but also left-wing.

In the interview, Wilhelm Langthaler, spokesperson of the Antiimperialist Coordination (AIK), tells us what we can expect from the International Peace Conference.

The Antiimperialist Coordination is one of the initiators of the peace conference. What goals do you want to achieve with the event?

We want to look for solutions together and have three main goals. First, we want to bring together the peace movements in the West and East. People from many countries are coming. The special thing is that activists from Ukraine and Russia and former Soviet republics are taking part. This is a clear signal in the direction of peace.

Our second goal is to identify the real causes of the war that pushed Russia to escalate. It was the structural projection of power by NATO and the USA, their global claim to power, which decisively led to the current situation. This also points to a solution to the conflict: NATO’s withdrawal from Eastern Europe.

As a third goal, we want to build a bridge to classical pacifism, which has become almost homeless. The active peace movement that existed during the Iraq war has almost disappeared. Pacifist forces no longer have a place on the political stage if they refuse to adopt the NATO narrative.

Who is behind this event?

It is a coalition of initiatives from various European countries, including Italy, Spain, France, Austria, Germany and many other countries, especially Ukraine and Russia. In the meantime, groups from the USA, South America and Africa have also joined. These are initiatives that essentially come from the anti-​imperialist direction — the old left spectrum — what is called the anti-​imperialist left.

Can you name typical representatives who participated?

From Austria, the AIK, Self-​Determined Austria and other groups from our coalition, the »Social Alliance for Peace and Neutrality«, are taking part. Numerous people from the communist spectrum of Russia, Georgia and Kazakhstan as well as from the environment of the left from these countries are involved.

How many participants do you expect?

Several hundred from the different countries.

You say there are also people from Ukraine?

Yes, Ukrainian leftists and other representatives of democratic Ukrainian parties are represented. There are a lot of people there who favour a different solution than letting NATO into their country. There are people from the Donbass as well as from the Kiev region, i.e. the west of Ukraine — even though most of them had to flee.

Will you be there, too?

Of course.

What kind of programme is planned?

The agenda has not been set yet. It’s about the future of Europe, the USA is leading us into a war that will have catastrophic consequences. Europe cannot live without peace and cooperation with Russia, that is a lesson learned from the Second World War.

The conference should help to create understanding about the causes of the war. There will be reports from the war zone and we want to develop joint actions in Europe to keep real anti-​fascism alive or to fill it with content again. There must be ways out of the monopolar world desired by the West.

It is very important for us to create a space for bridge-​building. This means intensive work, because the contrasts are considerable — also in the peace movement.

What are the costs for participation and how can one register?

That has not yet been decided exactly. Everyone has to pay for their own accommodation and transport. We want to charge a small fee for the conference, as we have no sponsors and are financing everything privately. You can register via the website, where you can also find our appeal.

How did the appeal come about?

The call was launched in Italy and is supported by a very broad spectrum of left and non-​left organisations that are against the Nato mobilisation. Even if this is not expressed in Italy’s official policy — the government has turned even more strongly towards Nato with Meloni and the Lega and Salvini have also changed their positions in the direction of Nato in the meantime: the overwhelming majority of Italians are against arms deliveries. That is why this initiative. But it runs across all countries and the entire political spectrum; Black Lives Matter activists from the USA have already joined. The Craftsmen for Peace are also part of it.

What are the main points of the call?

We demand:

the immediate halt of arms shipments to Ukraine;
an end to the sanctions on Russia as well as the Russophobic campaign;
the invalidation of the statement condemning Russia as a terrorist state;
an armistice between the belligerent forces;
a truly neutral and democratic Ukraine;
● the stop to the arms race and the dissolution of NATO.

How can one participate? I haven’t found a way to sign yet?

It’s still under construction. We are doing all this on the side. Anyone who wants to sign can currently do so by sending us an email and I will enter the people as soon as the appeal page is online.

Can you sum it all up like that? With the conference and the appeal, you want to bring people together who want to stand up for peace, regardless of their political background.

Yes.

Then I wish you all success!

The interview first appeared in German at tkp​.at. The conference call can be found here

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